By Phyllis Stoller, NABBW’s Group Travel Associate

What is unique about Boomer Travel? Only the critical things that make a trip successful: our wants, needs and expectations. You read about Boomer Travel all the time; however, not all articles are as frank and insightful as we require, at our age and stage.

Photo courtesy The Womens Travel Group

Wants: We want to hear a human voice tell us about travel, not be limited to an email or text message. For example: today some women called, asking about our upcoming Kenya trip, and specifically wondering how many game parks we would visit.

We answered their specific question: there are six game parks included on our Kenya trip. (Note: The photo at right is from last year’s Namibia trip, the photos below are from the website MagicalKenya.com.)

But, knowing that Boomers often will not know to ask some equally important questions, we followed up with additional information:

  • Roads in Kenya are bumpy and dusty.
  • By law, our – and in fact ALL travel vans – are not allowed to have air conditioning.
  • That means, if you cannot tolerate some dirt and discomfort, this is not the trip for you. NOTE: all safaris have similar dusty and bumpy roads but wow, what you will see!

Needs: Our needs are different. Bathrooms are especially important to us, specifically, the shower vs. bathtub issue. Bathroom quality is one of the most critical questions many women ask us. We regularly field questions like:

  • How often do we stop when we are touring in Paris?
  • What is the condition of a specific restaurant bathroom in Delhi; where we’ll be dining during our annual India trip?

When it comes to bathroom questions, we know Boomers want honest answers without hype. We also know that many Boomers prefer to avoid bathtubs. (Especially the Downton Abbey style,” free-standing, porcelain tubs found in many vintage European hotel rooms. While they may look romantic, they can be extremely difficult to exit.)

Wants: We want to know a porter will carry our bags, especially if there are stairs. No one likes the idea of towing heavy luggage and potentially pulling a muscle.

  • If porterage is not included, we know Boomers want to know how much to tip.
  • In some places, through porterage is included, the staff will stand around at your hotel door and hope for another tip.

Boomers want to know how to deal with this awkward tipping situation. (The answer is either smile and say ‘Ask my tour leader,’ or give them a small token and say: ‘This is in addition to the tip from my tour leader.’) However, this is a hint that will never be found in any written itinerary!

Photo courtesy MagicalKenya.com

Needs: Boomers often have dietary limitations or a preference for no meat. In some countries this request is easy: In India, vegetarian meals are common. In other countries,  red meat is de rigueur.  In Argentina, for instance, a lean meat eater will find it harder to keep to her diet.

Wants: Boomers like to enjoy a drink before dinner. They regularly ask us the price of a glass of wine is at the bar, so they can budget accordingly.

  • In Mexico, good Chilean wine can be as little as $6 a glass.
  • In London, because it is traditionally one of the 10 most expensive cities in the world, you will pay much more.
  • In some places, a female alone at the bar will be accepted; in others like rural Asia, not so much.

Boomers might not know to ask, but we know to add these facts into our conversations with you.

In Summary:

Yes, we Boomer travelers are different and the same. But when it comes to travel, Boomers do not “boom” enough about what they need and or want. In order to have a great experience, it’s important that you ask your questions. That way you will be able to make sure the trip is right for you, your body and your acceptable level of adventure.

Photo courtesy MagicalKenya.com

For more information: phyllis@thewomenstravelgroup.com or call us 646-309-5607

Or check out our web site, TheWomensTravelGroup, where we offer private trips for friends and families, as well as our posted trips for women.

Phyllis Stoller, NABBW’s Group Travel Associate is founder of The Women’s Travel Group, a tour operator which specializes in smart vacations for smart women, was recently honored as one of the 14 most influential women in Group Travel by Group Travel Magazine. The Women’s Travel Group works with travel agents and is a strategic partner of SITA World Tours.